Joseph’s Bright Future
In my high school freshman year, back pain became increasingly debilitating for me. As I was growing taller, the plainly evident scoliosis (curvature), spondylolisthesis (misalignment), spondylolysis (stress fracture), stenosis (narrowing around the nerves), and other findings on numerous X-rays, CTs, and MRIs began to cause pain that increasingly took over my life. I was interested in sports, played the violin, and was involved in advanced academic programs at school, but it was very difficult to do almost anything without substantial pain in my lumbar spine. In the spring, most kids my age were enjoying activities outdoors, but I was restricted and desperate for relief from pain.
Treatment and Recovery:
On the recommendation of my specialist, I underwent an anterior L5-S1 fusion during the summer. Even though I felt weak and tired, my legs felt much better and I was amazed at the progression as I improved each day. I went home without any complications and on day seven post surgery, I was off all pain medications. There were occasional bouts of minor pain and soreness as I recovered, but I was so vastly improved and pain free in a short time.
Through the skill, great expertise, and compassion of my doctor, I’ve been given the opportunity to focus on all the great things that life has in store for me. I look forward to finishing high school and heading off to college. From what seemed to be depths of despair from unremitting pain in my life, I’ve found inspiration to study biomedical engineering and devote my own future education and career to try to help others through research and innovation. I hope that I might help someone in the future . . . and pay it forward!